Manchin to progressives: 'Quit playing games' and let's pass bipartisan infrastructure bill

Manchin said that House progressives holding the bipartisan infrastructure bill "hostage" isn't going to win his support for a multi-trillion budget reconciliation bill.

Updated: November 1, 2021 - 2:32pm

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West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Monday urged House progressives to "quit playing games" and support passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that's already passed the Senate.

"I am not going to negotiate in public because I've been dealing in good faith. And I will continue to deal in good faith with all of my colleagues on both sides," he said at a news conference. "It's time to pass a bill. Quit playing games."

Manchin, a moderate, said that progressives continuing to hold the bipartisan infrastructure bill "hostage" isn't going to result in his support for a multi-trillion budget reconciliation bill, which currently includes universal pre-K, support for childcare for families that meet certain requirements and $550 billion for climate change initiatives. 

"The political games have to stop," he said. "It is time we vote on the BIF bill, up or down."

Pelosi had to twice postpone votes on the infrastructure bill due to progressive demands. The House Progressive Caucus wants the reconciliation bill finalized before committing to a vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill. 

Manchin cited rising inflation as well as the record deficit and national debt as reasons for his opposition to a massive reconciliation bill. 

"Elected leaders continue to ignore exploding inflation and our national debt continues to grow," he said.

The former West Virginia governor also questioned why Democrats would want to create new public benefits programs when the trust funds for Social Security and Medicare are heading toward insolvency. 

Manchin said the Biden Administration and Democratic leaders are using budget "gimmicks" for the revised $1.75 trillion price-tag. He predicted that the proposal, in its current form, would cost nearly double if the programs inside of it were made permanent.